Mark was always a gullible child,
but when he asked our older sister Ana
how the shower got the dirt off
and she replied that it sprayed you with
a low-molarity solution of sulfuric
acid that lifted dirt and grime
with gentle scrubbing action
(tough on grease, soft on hands)
she only wanted him to believe it
for a few hours, or a week at most.
She didn't expect him to stop bathing.
Our parents didn't understand why Mark
refused to bathe, and the only thing
that clued them in was when, a week
later, his stench had fouled up the house
so badly that the roaches keeled over
when he entered the room and the dog
began wearing a clothespin on his nose.
We're still confused about his death.
Just like every night, when it was time
for Mark's shower, Ma got him with
the chloroform, knocked him right
out so he would finally sit still
and she could wash him, but this time
he woke up. Soon as he did, he kind
of just dissolved, washed away in what
he still believed with all his heart was acid.
Perhaps his mind made it real.
I still tell Ana that she never should
have taken him to see The Matrix.